Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Free from Fear

One year ago I was just about to leave for my trip to Colombia. The time leading up to that event reshaped me as an individual, not to mention how life-chaninging the trip itself was. Over the next few weeks I will reflect on those events, as one year has passed since that time.
  I recently read something I found interesting and very true for myself. It was written that "Writing down your thoughts is important...because the actual process of writing consolidates the memory and clarity to what you have been thinking about." Dr. Leaf goes on to say, "Revisiting what you have written will be a revealing processes." (Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf)  I found this to be so true for me. This is partly why I write. Because it helps me process what is happening, it helps me digest events and grow in them and put them into practice. I don't always sit and read through my old writings, but I have been revisiting much of my journal entries from the time leading up to and during my trip to Colombia. That being said, that moment in time was a pivotal one for me to set me in a new direction. Today's blog is actually going to be a piece I wrote a year ago.
 When I wrote this, it felt so close to home, too personal to post here. But I have decided it's time I share some of these pieces. I forewarn you, it is long. But I want to take these lessons I learned and make sure I am applying them still today.

 February 1, 2016

The tears silently began to fall, much like quiet raindrops on a rainy afternoon. My lip quivered, in an attempt to hold back the emotion threatening to bubble out. No one will understand these tears or what this moment means to me….but I choose to stop fighting it and let them fall. Crying in front of others is not easy for me, I’ve sort of been non-verbally taught not to do it. 

 For the first time in so many months, though, these are not tears of sadness or hurt or pain. No, these are tears of release; tears of joy; tears of peace. I can feel God’s presence all around me, wrapping me up like a mother would swaddle her child. For me, this moment will stand clear in my mind for years to come. It is a marker in time. It is a moment which is so difficult to put into words, and yet I so desperately want those around me to understand it. 

This is the most beautiful communion I have ever taken part in. First of all, my church does not do communion on a regular basis, so I take in every heartbeat of these precious moments. Second of all, I have never taken part in a communion that is so intimate, so deep. As I said, the presence of God was evident. As Pastor Ed began, he says to Paula, as she takes the bread and breaks it and dips it in the juice, “The body of Christ broken for you, the blood of Him shed for you…” his words were more specific, but this is my first experience like this, and that is what I take away from it . Then Paula turns to James, and so on…. I felt immersed in the grace of God like never before. I can barely whisper the words as I turn to Gil and pass the bread and the juice to him. I accept the tears that are falling, but I wish to hold it together while I pass this along. 

I can’t even remember if it took place before or after the communion- I think before, but the moments are blurred- but as this beautiful, simple bracelet was placed on my wrist as passing of the mantle, with the Colombian colors on it, I once again knew without a doubt that God has been laying out this path before me for a very long time. As the verse goes, “For I know the plans I have for you…. “ in Jeremiah 29:11, He has had this plan for my life for a very long time. I am ready. I have faced some spiritual opposition like never before in the last 6 weeks. Work has brought me down; depression has knocked at my door; my marriage has been in the battle field. But tonight…. tonight it felt like all of that came to a screeching halt. perhaps for just a moment, or maybe for longer… only time will tell, but tonight I felt God in every way, shape, and form. I know God is with me all the time, I don’t doubt that. But tonight, tonight I felt Him in a new way. 

 When I left the meeting, I put the worship music on in my car. One of my all time favorite songs came on, and I just let the tears fall as I drove. The lyrics say this: 
       Take my heart, I lay it down
       At the feet of you whose crowned,
      Take my life, I’m letting go
     I lift it up to you who’s throned
    And I will worship You , Lord, Only You, Lord
     And I will bow down before You, only You , Lord

Take my fret, take my fear
  All I have, I’m leaving here
 Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
 Be all my delights, be my everything
 And it’s just you and me here now
 Only you and me here now
 You should see the view 
 when it’s only you……

I cannot imagine having heard another song in that moment. That was a God-thing. Part of the marker of this evening that will forever sit with me. The tears fell, as I attempted to sing out to HIm between the near sobs….. In 2015 the Lord taught me about letting go. Now, He’s teaching me new lessons. But as I listened to these words…. Take my life, I’m letting go… I lift it up to You who’s throned…. Take my fret, take my fear, All I have, I”m leaving here….
   I felt free. Free as I have felt in years.

Tonight a new lesson wrapped its arms around me…. Grace undeserved. As I sat in communion, and as I sat through the passing of the mantle moment, and as I listened to worship in my car, I felt so unworthy. I can’t believe He has chosen to let me be part of this team. I long ago asked for the forgiveness of my sins. But tonight…. tonight the reality of God’s forgiveness and love sat with me in a new way. The leaders tell me I am special, and many days it’s a battle for me to believe those words. But…. tonight I believed it. Tonight I know that I was chosen to go on this trip by God. I am unworthy, but He tells me I am. Because He died for me, and those sins that people or Satan hold over me no longer have a grip on me. I am free. He wants to use me. He does not want those things to bind me and hold me back. This trip…. this trip is about so many different things for me. And I have sensed alll along that God is wanting to use it in my life. And tonight was one slice, but one very important slice, of that journey. Tonight, I let go of my past. I will not let it bind me any longer. Tonight, I felt special. Not because someone was telling me that, but because I could feel God whispering it to me. My heart is one that wants to serve, but I alway feel held back by the past, by my insecurities, by my fears. But tonight, I will do what the song says… take my fret, take my fear, ALL I have, I’m leaving here….. 

 Like a person takes off their coat and hangs it up in the closet, I feel like tonight I shed a layer of fear, hurt, and insecurities (aka my past). I took it off, and I hung it up. I left it on Hwy I-75. I threw it out my window and said good bye to it. I told Satan he can no longer steal my joy with it. I stood up in God’s mighty power and strength (Eph 6) and fought and I will not let Satan win.  God can use the scars of my heart. Satan has tried to pick at the scabs of my insecurities for the last 6 weeks. And while I know the battle isn’t over, those things are scars now….wounds Jesus has healed. And I pray He can use my scars to tell His story as time moves along. Jesus bears the scars of the cross….. He could have healed those. but as He showed up to Thomas, the doubter, He held out His hands and showed His scars. My scars are invisible to the world, but they are there…. and I want to be used through them as well. 

Grace renewed. Love felt. Acceptance acknowledged. Fear gone. Fret fading. The picture of God shines in a whole new way to me today. I have believed for many years of my life. I have never stopped believing in my God. But as I He has been preparing me for the last year, with letting go and now with needing to sit still a little bit…. He has wrapped His loving arms and presence around me in a new way.

 The tears can fall, it’s OK. Because they are tears of peace, tears of acceptance, tears of joy, tears of feeling lost in the presence of my God, my Savior, my best friend. My prayer today? Today I let the song be my prayer…. Lord, Be all my hopes, be all my dreams, be my delight, be my everything.  I am strong in who He has made me. And I will stand firm in that. 

No comments:

Post a Comment